Fifield sells Thorn-EMI options before demerger

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James Fifield, the millionaire senior executive at Thorn-EMI, has made pounds 1.3m on share options in advance of the demerger of the company this summer.

Mr Fifield exercised options on 139,000 shares, roughly a third of those over which he holds rights, on Friday, according to a statement made to the Stock Exchange. Mr Fifield, who is president of EMI, the music business, was paid salary and bonuses last year of pounds 6.4m.

A Thorn EMI spokesman said Mr Fifield "had the opportunity to exercise his options under existing arrangements and elected to do so".

The company's remunerations committee is considering how to roll over current options once the demerger of the rentals and music company is completed.

Thereafter, executives will be provided with a new performance-related scheme.

Sir Colin Southgate, the company chairman, has options worth about pounds 5.6m at last night's price of 1703p.

Separately, Martin Edwards, chief executive of Manchester United Football Club, made pounds 2.1m after it was disclosed yesterday that he has sold 1.27 per cent of the company.

His wife, who was among several other United investors to sell shares, made almost pounds 950,000 after disposing of 0.57 per cent of her holding.

Mr Edwards, who on Sunday watched his team beat Chelsea to go through to the FA Cup Final, said the couple's sales were for private reasons and he refused to comment further.

He now holds 23.2 per cent of the club, which last week announced half- year profits of pounds 15.3m.

Mr Edwards sold 785,000 shares at 270p, while his wife sold 350,726 at the same price. United's share price rose 2p to close at 294p yesterday.